Over at P2PU.org I’m co-ordinating a ‘semester of learning’ on Mozilla’s upcoming Open Badges framework. This past week we’ve been looking at ‘learner stories’, scenarios for using badges to credentialise learning. Here’s my (fictional) attempt to explain how badges could work in the contexts with which I’m familiar.
Sarah: recognition for extra-curricular learning
Sarah is a 15 year-old pupil in an average English secondary school. As a pupil on the ‘gifted and talented’ list, she is working towards 14 GCSEs, including the English Baccalaureate subjects. Her passion, however, is music. She is a guitarist in a newly-formed band, something her parents and schoolteachers deem a distraction from her studies.
Recently, Sarah’s desire to spend more time writing and recording music has come into conflict with her studies. She has started to dabble in music production, but knows that to get a qualification in this area will probably have to wait.
How badges help:
Hearing of a new project using badges to credentialise learning in the music production arena, Sarah talks to her tutor and parents and the next parent/teacher evening about her passion for music. Because there is a way to credentialise it, her parents and tutor are happy with her dropping one of her GCSEs to free up time to pursue music production.
Within a few months, Sarah has her Music Production 101 badge. Realising she has module exams coming up, she decides to focus solely on her schoolwork for a month, then goes back to work on a badge that has been custom-made for her by a local producer: Producing kick-ass guitar music.
Sarah’s other band members begin to take on her ideas much more as she can talk knowledgeably about how something will sound as they are writing. Her teachers and parents notice she is happier in and with school, and notice an increase in Sarah’s confidence.
Badges provide a way to show parents and teachers the value of particular topic/subject/interest. In a world of high-stakes testing, badges allow for the credentialisation of passions, interests, and curiosities.
CC BY-NC rachel sian
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